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TLoser
Sat, Nov 9, 2013, 1:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

FRAK ME! THIS WAS THE MOST FRAKKIN' AWESOME SERIES OF TV I'VE EVER SEEN, AND THE FINALE WAS ABSOLUTELY BREATHTAKING, albeit not perfect. WOOOOOOOOT. Sorry about all the screaming, but I am so happy that I got hooked on this magnificent show. And many thanks to Jammer and the numerous other commentators that helped me to post-process every episode.

I am a bit surprised at how some people can't accept mythology, religion, science and sci-fi being together. I am an agnostic and a scientist. What I deal with day in and day out in many research projects is the lack of complete answers. This is due to many reasons like lack of data, poor data, data errors, plain old randomness, cost of research, difficulty in controlling for factors, me and my research assistants fouling up, deadlines, etc. Every single model, equation, simulation and theory that I've every developed has holes in it, usually "taken care of" via the error terms (fudge factors). In my humble opinion, it doesn't matter to me what I call the missing parts of the answers. Maybe god could answer them, maybe answers can be eventually explained from existing laws and theories, and maybe the existing laws and theories upon which I based my models were incorrect in the first place. My point is that to ascribe something to god is no more insipid than my frequent use of fudge factors. Either way, the answer is not clearly known. So I have no problems that there were "angels", prophecy or religion that were at work in the BSG universe, because the nature of those things are not clearly understood. I never took RDM as pushing any particular religious faith or pushing religion at all. Without naming any names, my sense is that some viewers would've enjoyed BSG a lot more if they were freed from their anti-religious and "science-only" baggage.

Just one quick comment about prophecies that seemed to be fouled up. My feeling is that prophecy, at least classical prophecy from the oracles, was extremely tricky and ambiguous. An oft-cited example was Pythia's words to King Croessus, which Croessus misinterpreted to his downfall. So I took the prophecy of Starbuck to be in the same vain as one uttered by some drugged out priestess: one shouldn't be so certain of one's own interpretation.
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Tloser
Sat, Nov 9, 2013, 2:53am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 1

I completely agree with the poster who said the issue of "inconsistent" characters could be viewed instead as character growth or development. This fact is one major reason why BSG endears. There are mostly no cheap resets in BSG because actions have consequences. I think Gaeta is probably the perfect example. Gaeta's idealism (e.g. vote rigging) was changed through the New Caprica experience that ultimately drove him to the path of mutiny, albeit differing from Zerek's means.

Another related point is that just because some characteristics of a person is revealed via a few episodes, that doesn't mean that their future decisions should automatically be clear to us. Human beings are highly unpredictable, unlike machines. One main theme in BSG is free will, so I don't expect the show's characters to run counter to that. Plus it makes for good drama, since we don't know how the characters will act. And the choices faced are many times very difficult choices where there are good arguments to both sides. To me Helo was probably the most predictable, but even he surprised me when he mutinied vs. Starbuck.
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Tloser
Thu, Nov 7, 2013, 11:01am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Deadlock

I had sort of a mini reverse reaction to the last two: No Exit and Deadlock. I was not as enthralled by the John/Ellen interaction in No Exit, and I was actually ok with the Old Ellen in Deadlock. The Old Ellen was ok with me because it re-emphasized the fact that Cylon's have free will, possess the full-range of emotions and are no longer immortal. Thus they are almost identical to humans. And Hera demonstrates that Cylon and Humans are at least in the same genus if not the same species. So the fact that No Exit focused on John's rage, resentment and condescension, and Dealock focused on Ellen's pettiness, it further highlights the humanness of the Cylons. I don't know if that was intended by the writers, but it sure made me think that way.
On a separate note relating to model 8/Daniel... This is my conjuncture at this point without having watched any future episodes. I hate when others write spoilers, so I would not do this to others. How about Starbuck being the original Hera? She seems to have the military smarts of her mother but at the same time loves to paint? This would also explain why her relationship with her mother was so difficult, and yet she knew that Starbuck was special (her special destiny). I wonder if Leoben knew this or was told by Daniel? And this could also explain how Starbuck was resurrected after exploding, but a special kind since she is a 1/2 and 1/2.
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Tloser
Wed, Nov 6, 2013, 4:56am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: No Exit

One more thing, was John/Cavil having sex with Ellen about Freudian Oedipus complex? Or was it his misunderstanding that he was not human, therefore it was just machine to machine interactions? In a sense it appears to be the same justification provided by Thorne and other rapists from Pegasus that a machine can't be raped. Which again leads to the free will question. If a Cylon has free will, then it can say, "No!" From a legal perspective, lack of consent has been historically a necessary element of common law rape.
Man, this show is amazing in how deep it probes various aspects of humanity.
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Tloser
Wed, Nov 6, 2013, 4:42am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: No Exit

I am surprised that the critical point of the "giving of the free will" was not addressed by anyone (or maybe I missed it?). Ellen explained to John (Cavil) something along the lines of: you are not defective because you have free will, and even now you can choose not to continue on the same path. That reminded me of how the Centurions turned vs. the Cavil side after hearing of the lobotomizing of their brethren. It seems like a main theme in the mythology is that once free will is given, a creature can no longer be enslaved. So whether it was the Colonials or the 13th-Tribe Cylons doing the enslaving, a rebellion is sure to ensue because creatures with free will are no longer machines.
On the religious front, the question of who is god is also contemplated. Is Ellen god because she did create the 8 cylons? How did the Centurians come up with the concept of the one true god? And did the believe in one god versus a pantheon contribute to the rebellion(s)? Looking at human history, it is a mixed bag how religion affected the abolitionist movement. On the one hand you had the Wilberforces of the world, but on the other you had plenty of preachers that justified slavery based on their scriptures. Or is BSG's point about how religion is born out of free will, again validating Cylons not as machines anymore but creatures even capable of having religious belief?
On another note, I didn't really follow John's rant about wanting x-ray eyes and such. There are all sorts of instruments to measure and display the eletromagnetic spectrum. We can see infrared, microwave, ultraviolet, via instruments that translate such spectra to the visible spectrum. If I wanted to see IR, I can just put on a set of goggles that display far IR signature. Or was he really wanting to be a god, as in wanting to fly through a supernova? I guess I second Ellen's point that free will is magnificent. But is also terrifying as it leads to humans and Cylons doing horrible stuff. And was the sentience inhibitor created and put on by the 8 or the final five?
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Tloser
Mon, Nov 4, 2013, 12:34am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: A Disquiet Follows My Soul

It's interesting how many have lined themselves on one side of the BSG separation of powers debate, i.e. with the quorum. I've always thought it was interesting that the BSG powers debate has really been between the pres and the military, but the quorum is coming into its own now. I know that in the US, we are used to quite a different type of political system where the POTUS is the commander in chief. But the BSG alignment is what happens in many countries, i.e. where a coup leads to a new president or a junta. I think the fact that it's still a time of war means that the quorum should be a bit more deferential to the military. Civilians would be totally frakked without the military's protection. So why are they being such an ass? Haven't they heard of the phrase, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"?
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Tloser
Sat, Nov 2, 2013, 4:45pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: The Hub

I have to comment on the disdain that some feel about all the religion-themed episodes. And I understand that as viewers, we all come with our own baggage, for example bad experiences with religion. I am an agnostic, although I show up in the synagogue occasionally. I hope I didn't misunderstand others, but I think some seem to think that sci-fi and fantasy can't co-exist happily. I dislike that notion because I personally love both sci-fi and fantasy. I love epics like the Marabharata, Romance of the 4 kingdoms, Nibelungen, Illiad and Edda, and to me BSG is a modern day epic set in sci-fi. I don't find it strange at all that in a sci-fi (hi-tech) setting that people are still heterogeneous with respect to personal believes be it polytheistic, monotheistic, agnostic or atheistic. Roslin takes the 12 gods metaphorically, while Baltar rails against anthropomorphic gods. I don't understand why some think that good sci-fi has to exclude normal aspects of humanity beyond science and logic?
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TLoser
Sat, Nov 2, 2013, 4:05pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: The Hub

For all the romantics out there, we finally get the mutual affirmation of love between the pres and the admiral. I love the way the interaction actually went. It reminds me of the freezing chamber:
Leia - I love you
Solo - I know
Except Adama says, "it's about time" as a reply to Roslin, "I love you." I doubt it's an homage to the Star Wars line, but I think it is just as memorable. A great romance played by two great actors. What a deal! Another connection to Harrison Ford was of course EJO's role as detective Gaiff in blande runner. Talk about classif sci fi stuff. Man is BSG great or what.
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Tloser
Sat, Nov 2, 2013, 3:10pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Sine Qua Non

I've been reading these reviews every time I finished an episode to help me post-process. I can never watch something and not talk about afterwards, and this site provides the virtual debrief. I never properly thanked Jammer, not just for the reviews but also for the fact that he has maintained the website for a Johnny-come-lately to BSG. So thank you Jammer for voluntarily imparting your skill and wisdom, and sharing your great insights. I hope you still check the comments and realize that fruits are still being born from your labor of love.
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Tloser
Sat, Nov 2, 2013, 3:01pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Sine Qua Non

In reply to Nebula: I don't really mind the pulling guns or threats in BSG, because unlike other shows there are actually consequences to these threats. Boomer shoots Adama, Cally shoots Boomer, Athena shoots Natalie, Helo shoots Gaeta in the leg ... We could argue that the perpetrators never received their full comeuppance, but I don't think there are really cheap resets in BSG. As such, I think the threats work for me, because I never know if those crazy writers will actually wack the character. The only other comparable show in terms of how freely they wack characters is MI-5. Like MI-5, BSG is engrossing because there is real danger, i.e. the threats are not just veiled.
And to disagree with another commenter who thought BSG is too soap operatish... I think it works for me because of the setting and the plot. What's great about the basis of the show is that human civilization is near extinct and yet there is a small remnant and semblances of civilization, a gang in Lee's words. This makes it relatable to me as the viewer because of the similarities with human society, and yet I don't feel it's a soap opera because of the sci-fi and more importantly, the end of civilization as we know it setting. The stakes are so high, and the characters have been stressed for so long, that it would be more surprising if things are not out of proportion with normal life.
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Tloser
Thu, Oct 31, 2013, 9:46pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: The Ties That Bind

The ending was really terrifying for me to watch. The potential of Nicky or her mother dying was just tough, and Cally did end up dying. It's not that I really liked Cally, but it's the fact that Nicky lost her mom. Watching a baby grow to a toddler is one of the most amazing times that parents' can have, and it's so disheartening to see that family destroyed like that.
I propose that others give Starbuck some slack. Her messed up relationship with her mom and then the Leoben mind frakking would scar anyone. Plus now she has the weight of the entire world on her shoulder knowing that she is the only one who could find earth and no one really believes her or can help her. I mean what else could she do? I assume that her painting the nebula was a way for her to try to connect with that feeling she has about earth to aid in its location. Starbuck deserves a Kit Kat break (I should've used that one for when Kat was still alive).
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Tloser
Tue, Oct 29, 2013, 9:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: Crossroads, Part 1

I have to agree with others who don't think the charge of treason on the original attack can stick on Baltar. If BSG treason is anything like U.S. law, then wrongful intent and an overt act are needed. I don't think Baltar meets either of the elements. However, there are certainly lesser charges that could be proved on Baltar opening the mainframe backdoor, albeit unintentionally. Maybe a charge where recklessness or negligence is an element? In terms of the execution order, I am not sure if duress could be a valid defense. My understanding is that duress is never a defense for murder. But the defense would point out that Baltar did not commit murder but only signed a piece of paper which was used by the Cylons to place the blame on him. To me, this trial is not black and white, and I would definitely not convict on treason or genocide, maybe on lesser offenses. I don't think I even know what the specific charges are being pressed by the prosecution.
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Tloser
Tue, Oct 29, 2013, 4:03pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: The Son Also Rises

It is not very surprising that Lee is seduced into preserving the integrity of the system. Recall that he is the one who went against orders and did not fire on the president, when the marines were sent to Colonial One. So his current interest in defending Baltar is not out of his character irrespective of the Kara trauma. John Adams defended the British soldiers from the Boston Massacre. Contrary to Bill Adama's opposition, there is nothing dishonorable with a vigorous defense of the accused. There are many facets of the defense. One relates to Baltar maintaining that he did not knowingly conspire with the Cylons, and the prosecution seeks to show otherwise.
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Tloser
Thu, Oct 24, 2013, 12:15am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: Dirty Hands

I also agree with @lvsxy808's spot on assessment. Adama's threat to execute Cally was never real. It was issued based on the letter of the law, but Adama usually follows the spirit of the law. If he had followed through, then "real" mutiny would have ensued. Adama understood that the underlying problem was not a military one but a civilian labor dispute. But he had to remind Tyrol that he took the wrong route by instigating things while he was still under military command. So the ending is more palatable to me in that Tyrol was negotiating with Roslin as the union leader, though he didn't realize initially. In the end, I think all three (Adama, Roslin and Tyrol) all made mistakes, but all three all gave in a little too. Recall that Tyrol also used a questionable tactic in locating the missing filters by forcing Zenner's hand. I don't want to sound like I totally agreed with the writer's approach to the episode, but I think I understand why they did it that way.
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Tloser
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 11:12pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: A Day in the Life

I am definitely in the minority here for liking the episode. I liked the juxtaposition of Adama's failed marriage next to Chief's. I thought the episode did have significant character exposition, e.g. delving further into why Lee and Adama had such a crappy relationship before, where exactly did Adama and Roslin stand with each other, and building upon Chief's comment that marriage creates bars. So were Adama and Carolanne really incompatible or did they have it at one time? Would Chief and Cally overcome their marriage troubles? How are Chief and Cally treating Nicky now versus how Bill left his kids and wife? Even the "contrived" hull breach thingy was a little worrisome for me. I was pretty sure they were not going to kill off the Chief, but I was pretty worried that Cally would off'd. The thought of Nicky losing his mom made me pretty queasy, but thankfully the writers had mercy on me.
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Tloser
Tue, Oct 22, 2013, 12:12am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: The Woman King

One of the first words that I learned in my classical Greek class was agathon (agathos declined). It is clearly purposeful why Helo was named noble/good. I think he is the character that makes the "right" choice most of the time, regardless of peer pressure or risk to himself. He is sort of the antithesis of Baltar who thinks of himself above all others. Helo went back for Athena in Caprica instead of going the opposite direction and caused her to turn. He went against Cylon genocide. He fights for his family to recover his daughter. And now he defends those who others hate the most. I think I've learned my lesson not to go against Helo.
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Tloser
Thu, Sep 26, 2013, 11:30pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S3: Unfinished Business

As much as I agree that violence vs. women is horrible, that's not the issue with the women who got into the ring in this episode. The BSG universe is very different w.r.t. to gender roles. Females take on all combat roles (not like the U.S., at least not yet), the bathrooms are co-ed, and the females acquit themselves quite nicely in the ring (cf. Starbuck>Hot Dog or Muay Thai Starbuck). I was not at all bothered by the fact that Starbuck was being pummeled or dished out punishment in that setting.
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Tloser
Sat, Aug 31, 2013, 12:42am (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: The Captain's Hand

The Garner heroic conclusion was too predictable and too clean. I don't mind that he became a hero in fixing the FTL, but I just don't like the way he died. My preference would've been him being court marshaled despite his heroism. And maybe he could have been sent back as a chief mechanic after a stint in the brig.
All the discussions about abortion just became too spidery for me. I don't mind discussing political hot button issues and religion in the BSG universe, but I don't like it when people try to migrate the discussion back to real life.
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Tloser
Thu, Aug 29, 2013, 9:27pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Final Cut

I have to agree with other folks who said this episode was weak. This episode almost made me give up BSG, but thankfully I returned. After seeing so many other shows do the obligatory "documentary episode", I just didn't want my beloved BSG to keep up with the Joneses. Maybe my expectations of BSG innovation is too high.
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Tloser
Thu, Aug 29, 2013, 9:18pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S2: Sacrifice

Regarding the killing off of characters... I think the most extreme example that I've seen is MI-5 (or Spooks). Except for Harry Pearce, they dispose off every other major character at any time. On the one hand it does create lot's of suspense and tension as anyone is seriously fair game for the writers. But on the other hand, it really sucks when you bond with the characters and they are offed. I was especially pissed that Tom Quinn was offed. Back to BSG... I understand that some wanted Lee gone instead of Billy, and maybe that wouldn't been ok. But if BSG replicated MI-5's quality and quantity of major character off'ings then I am not sure it would be as enjoyable of a show.
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